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June 2011, Vol. 134, No. 6
How occupational employment is affected by mass layoffs
Dina Itkin and Laurie Salmon
Dina Itkin is an economist in the Office of Occupational and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Boston, MA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Laurie Salmon is a supervisory economist in the Office of Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC. Email: email@example.com.
An analysis of business establishment microdata—created by combining microdata from the Occupational Employment Statistics program and the Mass Layoff Statistics program—reveals that jobs lost between 2000 and 2007 in establishments where extended mass layoffs occurred tended to be those which required less training and fewer analytical skills; jobs in occupations that were core to the specific industry generally were retained
In recent years, mass layoffs have affected large numbers of workers. 1 Even during times of stable employment levels or economic expansion, mass layoffs occur because of cost-cutting initiatives, relocation of operations, changes in technology or consumer demand, or other reasons. Not surprisingly, some occupations are more affected by these layoffs than are others. By using a sample of establishments that had at least one extended mass layoff during the 2000–2007 period, this article examines the types of jobs affected by layoffs. An examination of this period offers insight into the mass layoff effects on occupational employment before the start of the 2007–2009 recession. 2
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1 According to the MLS, during the first quarter of 2009, there were 3,979 extended mass layoff events, resulting in the separation of 705,141 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days. In the first quarter of 2011, there were 1,397 mass layoff events that resulted in 190,895 separations. Extended mass layoff events and separations have shown an over-the-year decrease for six consecutive quarters. BLS Mass Layoff Statistics are available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/mslo.toc.htm (visited June 28, 2011). Extended mass layoff data have been available since second quarter 1995.
2 Recessions are identified by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). For a list of recession start and end dates, see "U.S. Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions" (Cambridge, MA, National Bureau of Economic Research, June 20, 2011), http:/www.nber.org/cycles/cyclesmain.html (visited June 20, 2011).
Mass Layoff Statistics
Occupational Employment Statistics
Extended mass layoffs after 2001: a comparison of New York and the Nation.—Sept. 2008.
Mass layoff data indicate outsourcing and offshoring work.—Aug. 2005.
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